NYTimes: The Hidden Nightmare of Sexual Violence on the Border

There is an important article in the NYTIMES about the horrific rates of sexual violence among illegal immigrants.

Amidst all of the #MeToo inanity, nobody wants to talk about this. I was stunned when Trump very cautiously mentioned this in his address because it’s a taboo topic. Nobody wants to mention that the culture of machismo is nothing like we have ever come close to experiencing.

Being woman is fun in a very tiny portion of the planet’s territory. Everywhere else, it’s quite shitty. And it’s not geographic location that gives origin to that shittiness.


17 thoughts on “NYTimes: The Hidden Nightmare of Sexual Violence on the Border”

  1. “Being woman is fun in a very tiny portion of the planet’s territory. Everywhere else, it’s quite shitty.”

    Ah, Clarissa, how can you so cavalierly reject your destiny?

    “Blessings on the hand of women!
    Angels guard its strength and grace.
    In the palace, cottage, hovel,
    Oh, no matter where the place;
    Would that never storms assailed it,
    Rainbows ever gently curled,
    For the hand that rocks the cradle
    Is the hand that rules the world…

    Woman, how divine your mission,
    Here upon our natal sod;
    Keep – oh, keep the young heart open
    Always to the breath of God!
    All true trophies of the ages
    Are from mother-love impearled,
    For the hand that rocks the cradle
    Is the hand that rules the world.”


  2. I’m confused. What exactly do you mean when you say “Nobody wants to mention that the culture of machismo is nothing like we have ever come close to experiencing”? If you’re associating the culture of machismo with South America and implying that South American men are more likely to sexually assault women than other men, doesn’t that directly contradict your last sentence, where you say that geography has nothing to do with how bad it is to be a woman?
    Anyway, it seems like smugglers are sexually assaulting female migrants because those women are completely powerless and are at their mercy. The article said the smugglers aren’t the only perpetrators: on-duty Border Patrol agents and Customs officers sexually assault women as well (in my opinion, for the same reason).


    1. Machismo is not a South American phenomenon. And neither are the migrants in the article, by the way. It’s a Hispanic phenomenon, which is why this is a Spanish word that has no translation into English.

      The reason why it’s a Hispanic phenomenon definitely has nothing to do with trees, rivers, and mountains. This is a cultural phenomenon that developed over centuries. I highly recommend The Labyrinth of Solitude by the great Mexican writer Octavio Paz. It’s an essay that explains the historical roots of Latin American machismo.

      In Spain, the place of origin of this phenomenon, until 1975 women couldn’t own property and were obligated to take classes on how to be a good wife and mother. It was only in the 1980s that the large gap in literacy rates between men and women started to close in Spain.

      Now, a question for everybody. In the culture of machismo, in order to be a real macho, a man must have sex with another man at least once. Who can guess why? What is the logic behind this?


      1. Okay, total guess – because sex is domination and men are stronger than women so having sex with men is more macho than having it with women?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, absolutely. Sex is a demonstration of power, and real strength lies in demonstrating power not over contemptible half-human creatures like women but over other men. Of course, a real macho has sex with men only as a top, and the sex should preferably be unwanted by the bottom.


          1. It’s also interesting to see the connection between misogyny and homophobia. One of the reasons gay men are looked down upon is that they’re taking on roles of women, and who would want to be that low on the totem pole, below all the men, as women are by default. It’s the toxic brew of viewing sex as domination and women as inferior to men.


            1. It’s also a view that’s very interiorized by Hispanic women. I had a Mexican friend, an ultra successful, brilliant, educated woman. We once had a massive fight because she was insisting that women are by nature inferior to men because they are penetrated during sex. I had no idea what she was talking about until I read Octavio Paz.

              My friend was a proud and vocal feminist, by the way. It’s just that Hispanic feminism is a century behind Anglo feminism.

              This is just one story but I have a million and one. I’m in the leadership of a major Hispanic feminist association. I come across this stuff about once a day. It’s not humanly possible to love the Hispanic culture more than I do but I love it with a full realization that it is on a different planet, in terms of the position of women, from the Anglo world. We are not doing anybody any favors by pretending that this isn’t so.


              1. I’m not disputing your assessment of the Hispanic culture and appreciate the example. It’s just when I try to imagine a similar scenario without any Hispanic countries involved, I’m pretty sure the same things would happen.

                We have a rich country bordering a poor country, with the migrants entering the rich country illegally and thus being completely powerless and unable to ask anyone for help, while the smugglers are criminals by definition. That’s practically a guarantee that female migrants will be raped, it’s just a question of how bad it would get. Whenever men have complete power over women, a large number of them will use that power to sexually assault the women, even if the men aren’t already criminals.

                I also wonder about the migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa. If there’s less sexual assault, it’s probably for logistical reasons.


              2. It’s not any better within the countries themselves. The situation with violence against women and sexual violence against women and children in these countries is on a different planet from what exists in the US. It’s not the migration process that causes this. It’s the culture itself.

                But yes, it’s even worse in Africa, which is also not known for its great interest in the concept of affirmative consent. :-)))


  3. I actually think it’s French. Here in French Louisiana I have discovered the machismo to be worse than in northern Brazil, Franco’s Spain, and a few other massively machista places I’ve lived before. I’ve also ended up dealing with a lot of French daily life and work culture. It’s unbelievable once you start to understand it, which has taken me a long time. But they really don’t think women are people at all. They’re like the most machista characters in the most extreme Vargas Llosa novel. Oddly, though, I don’t have this impression about French Canada but then I haven’t dealt with that culture really extensively, just on vacation or knowing individuals, it isn’t enough to judge. But these people here are violent.


    1. Oh, that’s a very interesting observation. I’ve been wondering about this. My sister is in the leadership of a large organization of entrepreneurs. And she says that the members of the organization in Quebec treat her like absolute shit while the members of the organization everywhere else in Canada (or the world, actually) are a completely different thing. And we’ve been wondering about this enormous difference between Quebec and everybody else in the organization. It’s weird because Quebec is the most liberal part of Canada politically. But yes, there’s definitely something to it.


      1. I think it is part of why I enjoyed the meeting in Atlanta — relief from this French machismo. HOWEVER the other super-machistas I have found are the British, the Swedes, and some Swiss. And I have found Latin America to vary a lot; it’s differently sexist as opposed to less so, I sometimes feel.


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